The turn of the 20th century was a time of great change in Britain. The empire saw its global influence waning and its traditional social structures challenged. There was a growing weariness of industrialism and a desire to rediscover tradition and the roots of English heritage. A new interest in English folk song and dance inspired art music, which many believed was seeing a renaissance after a period of stagnation since the 18th century. This book focuses on the lives of seven composers—Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Ernest Moeran, George Butterworth, Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock), Gerald Finzi and Percy Grainger—whose work was influenced by folk songs and early music. Each chapter provides an historical background and tells the fascinating story of a musical life.
The importance of nineteenth-century writing about culture has long been accepted by scholars, yet so far as music criticism is concerned, Victorian England has been an area of scholarly neglect. This state of affairs is all the more surprising given that the quantity of such criticism in the Victorian and Edwardian press was vast, much of it displaying a richness and diversity of critical perspectives. Through the study of music criticism from several key newspapers and journals (specifically The Times, Daily Telegraph, Athenaeum and The Musical Times), this book examines the reception history of new English music in the period surveyed and assesses its cultural, social and political, importance. Music critics projected and promoted English composers to create a national music of which England could be proud. J A Fuller Maitland, critic on The Times, described music journalists as 'watchmen on the walls of music', and Meirion Hughes extends this metaphor to explore their crucial role in building and safeguarding what came to be known as the English Musical Renaissance. Part One of the book looks at the critics in the context of the publications for which they worked, while Part Two focuses on the relationship between the watchmen-critics and three composers: Arthur Sullivan, Hubert Parry and Edward Elgar. Hughes argues that the English Musical Renaissance was ultimately a success thanks largely to the work of the critics. In so doing, he provides a major re-evaluation of the impact of journalism on British music history.
Long remembered chiefly for its modernist exhibitions on the South Bank in London, the 1951 Festival of Britain also showcased British artistic creativity in all its forms. In Tonic to the Nation, Nathaniel G. Lew tells the story of the English classical music and opera composed and revived for the Festival, and explores how these long-overlooked components of the Festival helped define English music in the post-war period. Drawing on a wealth of archival material, Lew looks closely at the work of the newly chartered Arts Council of Great Britain, for whom the Festival of Britain provided the first chance to assert its authority over British culture. The Arts Council devised many musical programs for the Festival, including commissions of new concert works, a vast London Season of almost 200 concerts highlighting seven centuries of English musical creativity, and several schemes to commission and perform new operas. These projects were not merely directed at bringing audiences to hear new and old national music, but to share broader goals of framing the national repertory, negotiating between the conflicting demands of conservative and progressive tastes, and using music to forge new national definitions in a changed post-war world.
Edward Elgar (1857-1934) is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating, important, and influential figures in the history of British music. He rose from humble beginnings and achieved fame with music that to this day is beloved by audiences in England, and his work has secured an enduring legacy worldwide. Leading scholars examine the composer's life in Edward Elgar and His World, presenting a comprehensive portrait of both the man and the age in which he lived. Elgar's achievement is remarkably varied and wide-ranging, from immensely popular works like the famous Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1--a standard feature of American graduations--to sweeping masterpieces like his great oratorio The Dream of Gerontius. The contributors explore Elgar's Catholicism, which put him at odds with the prejudices of Protestant Britain; his glorification of British colonialism; his populist tendencies; his inner life as an inspired autodidact; the aristocratic London drawing rooms where his reputation was made; the class prejudice with which he contended throughout his career; and his anguished reaction to World War I. Published in conjunction with the 2007 Bard Music Festival and the 150th anniversary of Elgar's birth, this elegant and thought-provoking volume illuminates the greatness of this accomplished English composer and brings vividly to life the rich panorama of Victorian and Edwardian Britain. The contributors are Byron Adams, Leon Botstein, Rachel Cowgill, Sophie Fuller, Daniel M. Grimley, Nalini Ghuman Gwynne, Deborah Heckert, Charles Edward McGuire, Matthew Riley, Alison I. Shiel, and Aidan J. Thomson. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
This is the first scholarly edition of Othello to give full attention to the play's bold treatment of racial themes. Designed to meet the needs of theatre professionals, the edition includes an extensive performance history, a commentary illuminating the complexities of Shakespeare's language, and appendices on music in the play and a full translation of the Italian novella from which the story derives.
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